Our meeting kick-off Wednesday evening was interrupted by an event that drew a round of warm, thunderous, applause: Irv Newman rejoined the group for an extraordinary reunion. Accompanied by his beautiful wife, Beatrice, he was warmly greeted by everyone. Irv received over 100 cards from well wishers, and we again wish him the best.
Irv, who recently turned 90, later had a poignant piece about his brief stay in a hospice read by Jim Kelly. His “Thank You” letter to the staff and the directors was touching, and eye opening at the same time. Hospices should not be prejudged as “Death's Doorway.” We can't wait to read Irv's next effort about standing in front of an open coffin called, “Wait, Wait, I Have A New Idea I Want To Run By You...”
George Mindling brought up the schedule for July, which has our first meeting of the month on the Fourth of July holiday. By unanimous consent, that meeting will be skipped, so, July will have one meeting on the 18th. The calendar can be checked anytime right here on our blog page.
Our next meeting will be a very special meeting on June 20th as we celebrate a very special birthday of one of our most prolific members, Ed Lyman. Ed, who has been published of every single issue of Peppertree Literary Magazine since it first started publishing, will be 100!
Ed Lyman has also been coming to our FWA meetings since we first started getting together at the Gulf Gate Library, more than five years ago. And he always manages to stir up more than a few chuckles with his very original, clever and well-structured stories that always have a "snapper" ending.
Ed is also a generous supporter of his Venice community. He still volunteers at the Venice Hospital where he serves as a wheel chair "pusher" for people leaving the hospital. He also volunteers at a cat rescue and adoption service near Venice. That's where he adopted his beloved cat, Tammy. In addition to his time and effort, Ed has also generously provided funding to purchase a new truck for the local food bank, as well as a new air conditioned van for the feline adoption service.
In tune with his "giving" nature, Ed is also providing the money to buy the snacks and goodies that we'll be enjoying at his non-birthday party on the 20th of this month. It's a "non-birthday" party because Ed did NOT want a party for himself. He was adamant about that. He said, "It's just another birthday. No need to make a fuss over me." What he really wanted to do was give US a party, which is what we'll be doing at the next meeting.
Ed Lyman is our official Writer Emeritus and we hope he'll be around for at LEAST another 100 years! And we hope you all show up on Wednesday, June 20th, to share with Ed your best wishes for his "non-birthday."
We will play the meeting “by ear” so to speak, with possible readings in the first half of the evening, but the second half will be dedicated to a very special non-birthday wish to Ed. Sandwiches and coffee will be served, and if anyone would like to help with paper plates, napkins, or plastic dinnerware, please contact Russ Heitz at firstname.lastname@example.org. In fact, one reason Irv made a special effort to attend last night's meeting was to be present for the planning of Ed's non-birthday! Spouses and friends are welcome at the special meeting. Thanks to Russ for the marvelous information about Ed.
After more announcements about the upcoming FWA Convention in October, Ed Ellis got the meeting underway with Jim Kelly reading Irv's piece about his stay in the hospice. Irv and Beatrice graciously said goodnight soon after, everyone once again greeting and wishing them well.
We welcomed new-comers Charlotte Humphreys and Roger Sakowski to the meeting, and welcomed back Cathy Marine and Jim Kelly as well. Charlotte started the evening's readings with “Pear Tree and the Vanishing House,” a nostalgic, well written piece that drew warm response from the group. We look forward to more of Charlotte's writing.
Joanne Phillips read a really great poem about Englewood, which garnered her a 2nd place ribbon in the Englewood contest, and followed with the next chapter of her book, “Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” A great discussion about style followed, but everyone agrees: More!
Susan Haley took a few minutes to remind us on this anniversary of D-Day, that we all take far too much for granted in our daily lives. Susan read Bart Stamper's one-line poem that brought a moment of silence to the whole room: “On Memorial Day it's so different when you know their names.. . . Ron Holeman, John Knaus, Cameron McCallister and dozens of others a thought to consider.”
Rod DiGruttolo followed with another of his great reflections of growing up in Sarasota in the 1950's called “Puppy Dog Tales.” Rod graciously thanked Ed Lyman and Peter Frickel for helping him develop the masterfully done series.
Peter Frickel read a chapter from his upcoming 18 part work named “Lilies of the Vlei.” “Umbubulu” was a masterfully told tale of a young man riding through the African night with his father, physician to the king of the Zulus, during dangerous and treacherous times. Again, marvelous stuff.
Rod then read a humorous piece called “Package Pandemonium,” published in 1966. It was written by none other than Ed Lyman's son, Dan. Must run in the family.
After a ten minute break, Ed wished he had his cow-bell back! Everyone rejoined the meeting after chocolates and fortune coolies, and we resumed with Lee Taylor Franke reading a great piece that linked nostalgia with the aging of a town simultaneously with its citizens. Well written and deeply emotional piece.
Jim Kelly read two of his great poems, starting with “Smoke and Ashes,”and “Light.” Two more masterful pieces of poetry that left the group speechless. Absolutely great writing.
Kerri Dieffenwierth read another piece of her upcoming work, “Homemade Rodeos,” again with writing that stands alone called “Run, Run Away.” It wasn't about the horse... More great writing.
Ed Ellis received great critical review after his difficult piece about writing what is possible or plausible. Paradoxical? A great success model for writing.
We wrapped up another great night with Patricia LaBarbera reading her “What We're Looking For,” a wonderful story that, as always, has delightful, unexpected twists. Patricia will keep us posted as to her next seminar on editing and editors, something none of the group should miss.
We turned off the lights and said goodnight. See everyone on the 20th for Ed's birthday.
Special Thanks to Russ Heitz for the information about Ed Lyman.
PS: Kerri just forwarded information about a writing sweepstakes at: